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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Paint Me Fearless (The Shady Gully Series Book 1) by Hallie Lee is an emotionally engaging contemporary Christian novel about female friendship. On the outside, Desi, the new girl at school, and Robin, her not-so-popular lookalike, forge an unlikely friendship that carries them through high school and beyond. Raised differently--Robin in a strict religious home; Desi in a non-religious one--they find common ground amidst the challenges of coming of age in a small-town high school, as well as some hard family issues. But can their friendship survive the secrets, lies, and revelations that threaten it now that they're adults?
This is the kind of book that takes you on a journey with the characters from high school to adulthood, showing all the growth and change in between. The character development by Lee is exceptional. She really knows her characters and shows their dynamics, and allows them to tell their own story. The pacing of this novel is pitch-perfect. You glide through the scenes and events effortlessly, even though the characters face some daunting obstacles on the way. This author is as fearless as her characters, taking you into territories that some writers shy away from. You will connect with Robin in high school, and Desi and the others, and by the time you reach adulthood with them, you are fully invested and as impacted as they are when things get dicey. I like that the characters have some flaws, some quirks, insecurities, and fixations. They feel like real people. I like the study of friendship and how it behaves over time. I wish I could divulge some golden nuggets, but that's for you to discover when you read this book. Paint Me Fearless (The Shady Gully Series Book 1) by Hallie Lee is a standout novel for contemporary women from all walks of life.